Politics pays in college, but not quite as well for illegal immigrants.
Student government representatives at most public universities collect money for their service, including stipends as high as $15,000 per year. But Jose Salazar, the student body president at California State Long Beach University, is barred by university bylaws from collecting because he is an illegal immigrant. He’s using his political talents to find a loophole.
“I’m up for the challenge. I love challenges,” Salazar told CBSLA.com.
School President Jane Close Conoley is on his side, and “searching for more permanent solutions for the undocumented students” in student government, according to reports.
The story of Salazar, who did not return repeated requests for comment, is inspiring to many. Elected president with 52 percent of the vote, the aerospace engineering and physics double major crossed into the U.S. from Mexico a decade ago with his mother and siblings. The family moved to Long Beach, where Salazar told school newspaper the Daily 49er he began middle school as one of just a few students who spoke only Spanish.
“Everyone used to bully me and push me around,” Salazar recalled.